Threats don’t play well in cybersquatting disputes

These two domain owners tried to play hardball and got nothing.

How you approach a potential buyer for your domain impacts what happens in a UDRP hearing. Here are two examples.

A World Intellectual Property Organization ordered Magna.co transferred to Magna International Inc., a company that uses Magna.com.

Magna is a dictionary word and the name of a town. A registrant could fairly register it in good faith. But when you use the following approach to try to sell it, a UDRP panel is likely to view you unfavorably.

The owner of Magna.co sent a LinkedIn message to someone at Magna International in August 2020:

I own Magna.co domain name and I am reaching out to few companies to explore a possible sale of the domain name.

When I setup [sic] the email address for magna.co to contact potential end users, I started receiving business emails concerning your company (check attachment).

Would you be interested in owning this domain name to protect your business information and brand

Magna International rejected the offer. The Respondent then apparently raised his price before sending this message:

Thank you for your reply. I thought its [sic] better that your company owns this domain name. In the last three weeks I got 350+ emails concerning your company.

Imagine your competitors American Axle & Manufacturing, Lear Corporation, Visteon, Faurecia, Linamar, Aptiv or Gentex owning the domain name and what information they can extract from the emails to gain advantage on your company. It can be a minor leak with serious consequences.

Once the domain is sold to an end user its [sic] very difficult and expensive to own. If you are reconsidering this matter, Visit magna.co and submit your offer.

In another recent case, T. Rowe Price CEO Bill Stromberg won a UDRP against the owner of BillStromgberg.com. It would be harder for the owner of this domain to justify registering the domain in good faith. But its sales pitch to Stromberg sealed its fate in the ensuing UDRP:

Subject: Urgent – CEO Domain

Hello Mr. Stromberg,

Without prejudice, we are getting in touch with you, with regards to the following domain:

billstromberg.com [billstromberg.com]

We are a brand protection agency and our team has secured this domain. Our team values it at $9,725.

The CEO is an integral part of a company. If a competitor were to get control of a CEO’s domain name and point it to one of their assets or worse still, to malicious websites, it would be incredibly embarrassing for a public company. It could hurt sales as well as brand reputation. Shareholders wouldn’t be too pleased once it reaches the media. Especially as the above domain will rank number one on Google.

For that reason, we always advise clients to secure their personal domain names as soon as possible. The domain can be used by anyone, for anything. It’s a great asset to have in your control whether used or not. This prevents potential abuse from competitors as well as disgruntled employees.

We are here to help prevent that and to protect your assets. Please do get in touch, if you’re interested.

Thanks,

Lewis Davids
Victor Platinum

Both domain name owners attempted to defend the domains in the UDRPs but they had steep curves to overcome.

 

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